There's only been a small handful of bikes that utterly stopped the industry in its tracks, and Suzuki's Hayabusa is one such machine that found just the right mix of ingredients to make what many would consider the perfect bike.
Introduced in late 1998 to a somewhat confused audience, the funky-looking Hayabusa immediately drew more criticism than accolade. Quite frankly, nobody was sure what to make of it. Was it an oddly styled sport tourer or the next evolutionary step for sportbikes?
It didn't take long to figure it out - the 'Busa was praised as possibly the meanest yet most user-friendly bike ever built. It did everything exceptionally well, but most of all, it was ridiculously effing fast.
The 'Busa soon caught on in the U.S. and won the hearts of many riders across the board. From Harley owners to sport tourers to trackday enthusiasts, drag racers and tuners, the Hayabusa transcended all areas of the industry and happily ruled the roost for nearly a decade.
It didn't receive any notable updates over its lifespan until 2008's total makeover, but then it didn't really need it. During those years, no serious threats from other manufacturers existed. With rear-wheel horsepower in the 160-plus neighborhood and a competent chassis to support it, the Hayabusa did just fine updating its graphics and rising to legendary status.
Along with mild styling updates, 2008 brought the 'Busa an entirely new motor (with almost 15 more horsepower on tap) and a front end that included radially mounted brakes. The new version does just about everything better than the previous model, yet many parts and components are interchangeable.
The most common mod is a full exhaust system that saves weight and adds even more power while letting the big motor bellow its beefy tone. Aside from that, the sky is the limit because there are more aftermarket parts available for the 'Busa than for any other sportbike on the market. From billet grips to turbochargers-it's all fair game and readily accessible.
Is the 'Busa the perfect bike? Many of our readers seem to think so. And judging from the wide scope of owners' applications, it seems as happy touring the country as it does running in top-speed shootouts. If you're looking for a great all-rounder that has a serious reputation and respect, the 'Busa might be the one.
****Year: 2003 Hayabusa
Miles Done: 22,000
Mods: Custom paint, Galespeed wheels, lowered front and rear, full Muzzy exhaust, small airbox mod, Power Commander III, 1298cc built by 4th Generation Motorsports
Best Upgrade: Built motor
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "It's my daily rider, and after owning a ton of streetbikes I would have to say the 'Busa is almost perfect!"
Miles Done: 5500
Mods: Full Yoshimura exhaust, Power Commander III, chrome frame and wheels, Trac Dynamics 6-inch over-swingarm, braided-steel brake lines, custom paint, accessories, lowered, rear Wave rotor, clear turn signals, windscreen, fender eliminator kit, license bracket relocator
Best Upgrade: "Hard to say. I am happy with everything I have been able to do. I love the color. Love the slammed and slightly stretched look, too.
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "It hates to go slow! The 'Busa is one bad bike! There is not much that compares to the look, style and ride of it!"
Miles done: 22,000
Mods: 460hp turbo kit, rods, studs, valve springs, undercut trans, lowered, Cycle-Tek shifter, extended swingarm, custom paint, Hipoint chrome wheels
Best upgrade: "Turbo-boost, baby, boost!"
Favorite aspect of bike: "Ridiculous horsepower. It pulls harder in sixth gear than a stock bike does in first gear!"
I've had the bike since new and slowly upgraded to what it is now. It started off stock, then moved to a used Hahn Stage 1 kit, then eventually graduated to big HP and am loving every minute of it."
Miles Done: 26,000
Mods: K&N; filter, airbox mod with short stacks, Power Commander, shortened Yoshimura exhaust, custom paint, chrome, custom undertail, painted frame covers, alligator seat, air horn
Best Upgrade: Custom paint
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "Custom paint."
Year: 2006 LE
Miles Done: 6000
Mods: Brock's exhaust, Power Commander III, Gilles rearsets, Hotbodies undertail, Pazzo levers, Raptor shift light, Puig windscreen, Scorpio SR-i500SE alarm, Tobin seat, swingarm extensions, GIpro with ATRE, billet sprocket and clutch covers, Dymag wheels, EBC rotors, 16/42 sprockets, Bad Boyz Racing frame sliders, bar ends and grips, lowered front and rear
Best Upgrade: Dymag carbon-fiber wheels
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "Handling."
Mods: Lee's Performance Stage 3, ported head, intake cam swap, bored throttle bodies, Marchesini wheels, Brembo 19x20 brake master cylinder, Galfer Wave rotors, Goodridge lines, Akrapovic exhaust, Power Commander III, BPD Quickshifter, Traxxion Dynamics Axxiom kit in front forks, modified stock shock, 1-inch raising links, Double Bubble screen, Raptor shift light
Best Upgrade: N/A
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "I am one of the unusual Hayabusa owners-I actually do track days on mine. Back in October 1998, I had added a new machine to my budget, and being a Suzuki man-so to speak-and being good friends with Lee Shierts (Lee's Performance), I put a deposit down on a Hayabusa. After the longest six-month wait of my life, my new addition arrived at the dealership I work for in Asheville.
"Working at a dealership and getting to ride all sorts of new machines every year, it still amazes me how well the Hayabusa can do so many things, from top-speed runs and drag racing to, yes, even track days. Now, 24,000 miles later I am still impressed with the all-around capability of the mighty'Busa."
Miles Done: 6000
Mods: Power Commander, TRE with GIpro (no more looking for seventh gear), full exhaust, pair valve removed, lowered 1 inch, chrome pieces, undertail, lighted see-through clutch cover, custom paint
Best Upgrade: lowering (for the not-so-tall)
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "The guy who owned the bike previously drag raced. I guess he changed the clutch at one time and didn't tighten the clutch spring-plate bolts properly.
"I was headed to take my motorcycle road test and wouldn't you know it, a bolt let loose and took out the whole clutch assembly and clutch cover. I pushed the bike to a local motorcycle repair shop just a few blocks away and called my friend, who was going to meet me for my test. Luckily he let me take the test on his ZX10, and, yes, I passed!
"I really enjoy the responses I get when out riding. Even the cruiser guys give positive comments."
Mods: Brock/Hindle exhaust, Power Commander III, airbox mod, TRE, sprockets, lowered
Best Upgrade: N/A
**Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "I can ride it all day and I'm still ready to ride more. It's very comfortable compared to my Gixxer1000."
****Year: 2006 LE
Miles Done: 22,000+
Mods: Throttlemeister, Valentine One radar detector, modded stock pipes, hump storage mod, tank bra, Amsoil synthetic motor oil, K&N; oil filter, Galfer brake pads, Michelin Pilot Power tires
Best Upgrade: Valentine One radar detector
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "Acceleration, and, of course, control and stability at speed. It's just rock-solid no matter what!
"I tour/ride it quite a bit considering I also ride and tour on a 1979 Honda CBX and a 1982 CBX. The Hayabusa simply does most (if not all) that a rider wants it to. I happen to have very long arms and found that I didn't need HeliBars or risers or lowered pegs for extended comfort while touring. I even like the stock seat, and I have Corbins on my Hondas!
"My only complaint about the Hayabusa's riding position is riding downhill, slowly. I can see the trees but not the treetops. My neck gets a little sore sometimes. Some complaint, eh?
"I flew to Southern California on a frosty Saturday morning in February 2006 and taxied to the dealer carrying a tailbag and rode it home from the dealer on Highways 1 and 101-all 460 miles.
"It had 4 miles on it at the dealer. It was a terrific ride and allowed me to break in the motor properly by varying the speed and revs due to the road conditions."
Scott White, Sr.
Mods: Custom paint, chrome headlight cover, Canadian Mike 9-inch over swingarm, Hyperbike rear shock/spring,Cycle Protect GPS alarm, Cyclops LED undertail, BMC air filter, airbox mod, sprockets, Frankenstein replacement bolts, Zero Gravity windscreen, Clear Alternatives turn signals, Myrtle West chain, Power Commander III, Ivan's TRE, TiForce exhaust, SpeedoHealer, Goodridge brake lines, Vesrah pads, EBC rotors, Tobin custom seats, Vortex triple clamp, lowered, Soupy's adjustable lowering links, Roaring Toyz grips, Pazzo levers, HID light, Pirelli Diablo Corsa tires
Best Upgrade: Paint, seats
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "I am very happy with the ride and the way it looks. "I bought it in 2005 while dating my wife. In 2006 we went out for breakfast wearing only jackets and gloves-no lids. Well, I got into racing along a city street with an AMG E55 and at the third red light we approached, my wife leaned over and told me to 'smoke this fool' at the light.
"I had just added the BMC filter, done the airbox mod and changed my map the day before. I had no idea what kind of HP jump I was in for in the midrange with a passenger on back.
"You can guess what happened-light went green, Benz went forward and my headlight went straight up. I twelved the bike before I even crossed the intersection, but onlookers said I managed to keep it at 12 o'clock long enough for my wife to fall off the seat onto her butt. Then somehow I fell/somersaulted backward and ended up on my feet (head never touched the ground), so I ran to grab her praying that I didn't just ruin her career (she was a dancer/model at the time, still is).
"I almost got into it at the accident scene with the asshole cop who thought I was doing wheelies down the street. He told me I couldn't go to the hospital with my wife because I wasn't hurt and he needed to ask more questions.
"My mother had arrived at the scene by then, and she saw me balling up a fist at that point and pulled me away from the cop. She told me to just tell the EMTs my head hurt, and then I could go with my girl to the hospital in the ambulance. That cop actually rushed to catch the ambulance before it left so he could hand me a ticket for reckless driving, which I crumpled up and threw on the floor in front of him.
"When we got home her response rocked me. She told me she knew how much I loved riding, she knew how bad I had been wanting that bike, and getting rid of it would only make me feel worse. So, we both agreed to set about using the bike as a rolling advertisement for her new fetish website 'hot-soup.com' and with a killer paintjob, she figured I'd never do anything stupid like that again."
Mods: Alth rotors, HID kit, Puig windscreen, Pazzo shorty levers, Gilles rearsets, clear clutch cover, Mototeck undertail
Best Upgrade: "My bike is presently awaiting my airbrush to attack it. This will be the third time I will be painting it-the third time's a charm, they say!"
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "Comfort and torque."
Miles Done: 13,000
Mods: Chrome, custom paint, Brock's exhaust, airbox mod, Muzzy fan, HEL stainless brake and clutch line kit, EBC brake pads, lowered, Clear Alternatives turn signals, HID headlights, SRP gauges, custom undertail, custom seat covers, Sportech windscreen, license-plate relocator
Best Upgrade: Exhaust and HID headlights
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "Speed, performance and the look. Ability to do long-distance riding with no problems."
Miles Done: A lifetime
Mods: Akrapovic exhaust, Tiger Racing 1397cc motor and crosscut transmission, Ward Performance CNC-ported head, Megacycle Stage II camshafts, Power Commander III, PCS mod, airbox mod, reworked fork legs by Dave Hodges of GP Suspension, Galfer braided lines, Castrol fluids, polished frame and bits
Best Upgrade: "In process-addition of 2008 front end."
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "It's magical ability to draw my inner feelings to it. I have such an emotional and unexplainable attachment to it. The Hayabusa has a soul like no other motorcycle I have ever ridden."
Mods: Lowered, Canadian Mike stretched swingarm, RCC Super Ultra kit, AMS 1000 boost controller, JE pistons, Carrillo rods, Carpenter valve springs, billet fuel rail, Tiger Racing LSR wing and undertail, Star rotors front and rear, NOS bottle in the swingarm filled with nitrogen for the air shifter and boost controller, Innovate datalogger, MicroTech LT-10 secondary fuel controller, ceramic wheel bearings, non O-ring chain, brake-caliper mods (removed dust seals), carbon-fiber seat pan, Bridgestone 002 tires, Buell footpeg mod (lowers your feet 1.25 inch), carbon-fiber clutch and brake levers, shortened kickstand, RPM two-stage clutch, billet outer clutch basket, Boost by Smith gear position mod, aluminum rear sub-frame off a 1999 'Busa, Airtech lowered fiberglass fuel tank, braided-steel brake lines, K&N; air filter (turbo), Schnitz Racing timing retard, overdrive fifth and sixth gears, billet output shaft, APE transmission shift forks, sprockets, APE Pro Mod head studs, oil-pan baffle, 2-inch billet oil pan with a swivel pick-up
Best Upgrade: RCC Super Ultra Kit, 625 rear-wheel horsepower
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "Looks fast sitting still!"
Miles Done: 12640
Mods: Custom paint, DaPincci slip-on pipes, K&N; air filter, pair valve block-off, frame sliders, grips, gel seat, Vortex sprockets
Best Upgrade: "I love the sound from the DaPincci pipes."
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "The ability to go from 0 to 150 with a small twist of the wrist with comfort enough to make a 500 mile trip at one time.
"I don't race a lot, just more for fun. It's better than doing it on the streets. I ride with my girl two-up as much as by myself. I'm 6 foot 3 inches and weigh 235 pounds, and this bike has more than enough power to haul my big self and my girl around and still leave most bikes playin' catch-up.
"I've done everything from long road trips to -quarter-mile sprints."
Miles Done: 13,000
Mods: 1397 JE big bore, dual intake cams, adjustable cam spockets, air box mod, Power Commander III, ignition box w/hub, and LCD screen, Hindle exhaust, dual fans, 24 volt starting, Ohlins forks and rear shock, Sprint steering damper, PRM top clamp, Dymag carbon wheels, Brembo HP rotors, Brembo HP radial calipers, Topgun undertail, Libertek LED lights, Pazzo levers, PMR switches, custom paint, Harris grips
Best Upgrade: Brakes
Miles Done: 12,000
Mods: Painted rotors, lowered, steel braided brake lines, Pazzo levers, throttle Meister, Genmar riser, Yani Shiki skeleton clamp, Voodoo Industries headlight, Muzzy fan, pair removal, D&D; exhaust, Bluegauges.com gauge cluster, chopped windscreen, BMC air filter, Power Commander III, speedohealer, Scorpio alarm, Clear Alternatives taillight, gel seat, custom paint
Best Upgrade: Speedohealer and Genmar riser.
Favorite Aspect Of Bike: "In 2006 I got hit by a SUV and I got reasonable insurance claim for it. I was working part time at a bike shop while I was serving in the US Navy in Florida. My boss took care of me for being an employee and serving in the military. I got the parts at cost, did all the grunt labor, part ordering, and general getting the bike ready.
"I came up with a paint scheme (POW, MIA, KIA) and the two of us went to work. I wanted to paint something that would tribute my family members that served (painted on the tank) people I served with (painted in various spots on the bike) and all those that still serve and have before me. This is what my imagination and hard work came up with. This ain't no trailer queen, it's my daily commuter, and on weekends I ride her like I stole her!"
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